I’m James and I volunteer with NBFA helping out with developing the Charity’s online presence. I first got involved with NBFA in March of this year and as I’m based in Manchester, all the work I do is remote. I have very much enjoyed volunteering with NBFA and despite the distance, I still get a sense of involvement in what the charity is doing.
NBFA provide valuable services for isolated elderly people and provide assistance that makes a big difference to the lives of the charity’s beneficiaries and it’s been a fantastic opportunity to be able to be a part of this in any capacity.
My work with NBFA covers a number of different things. I write posts for the blog about topics relevant to the work of the charity, I manage the charity’s Google Advertising account (free for charities!) and just offer general advice regarding promoting and improving the organisation’s online offering.
Volunteering with NBFA has provided me with an opportunity to feed my passion for digital marketing and gain new experiences outside of my day job whilst helping a really good cause in the process. NBFA is a very worthy cause and it has been more than a pleasure to be involved in the work they do.
NBFA are always keen to hear from people interested to find out more about volunteering and there are lots of ways to get involved in the organisation’s work. From office based support, to assisting on the charity’s Day trips & Breaks-Away or helping out with updating the blog if you’d like to get involved, get in touch!
My name is Flora and for the last few months I have been interning with the Fundraising Officer here at the NBFA office in Victoria. Learning the ins and outs of the fundraising world has been a fascinating experience and knowing I’m coming to the office everyday to directly help people who are in need makes everything I do feel worthwhile. Despite what some may think, there is so much more to fundraising than standing on the street with a bucket! The process of finding and applying for funding can be time consuming and complex but the satisfying results at the end make it worth the hard work. As the charity itself is relatively small I never feel like a spare part because every job plays a vital role in NBFA’s work.
I initially started volunteering in the office last year, looking for something that would give me work experience and a change of scenery from university life. As a student I am presented with opportunities to meet new people and experience new things every day, something which I often take for granted. Some of the individuals we work with go weeks without seeing friends or family, an incomprehensible situation for many of us. The work NBFA did was so unique and I had grandparents in a similar situation to many of its beneficiaries, so it was a cause close to my heart. There is no other charity that provides services quite like these so I’m thrilled to be part of the organisation.
Over the last week it has been my job to start NBFA’s Autumn Appeal JustGiving campaign, aimed at raising much needed money to support our services as they become more in demand over the coming months. As the weather gets colder, older people will find themselves more at risk of becoming isolated and feeling cut off from their communities. This campaign could provide a pain free winter thanks to a TENS Pain Relief Machine or a Christmas Break-Away for someone who hasn’t had a holiday in years!
JustGiving is the world’s largest platform for online giving and with the increasing use of social media, its certain to represent the future of fundraising. Not only can you donate online via the appeal page but there is also the option of simply sending a text. This money goes straight to the grand total on our appeal page. There really has never been an easier way for people to support our work!
Every penny goes straight towards helping the elderly people we work with, so please spread the word! Any amount, no matter how big or small, will be invaluable in supporting this wonderful charity.
If you would like to donate or just want to find out more about our work please visit our JustGiving page - http://www.justgiving.com/nbfaautumnappeal
As you may know, we celebrated our 50th anniversary in 2007. Our services have changes over the years but our core commitment remains steadfast. Here’s a short history of the NBFA.
We began by providing TVs to elderly people, to try and combat isolation. By giving these older people (often with mobility problems) a television set, we provided an important link to the outside world as well as visual and aural stimulation.
Our ever popular Breaks-Away programme began in 1971, providing much needed breaks and social companionship to those who could not afford to go away. To date we’ve taken over 50,000 people away!
In 1982 we started providing TENS pain relief machines to help give long-term pain relief for chronic conditions, such as arthritis. Thanks to our donors we are able to give more than 600 older people each year a machine to help them relieve pain.
We started offering emergency alarms in 1992. If you’re concerned about nobody being made aware if you fall ill or have an accident or emergency, then the Check & Go system is an ideal situation.
2007 was a busy year! We won a medal for our garden display at the Chelsea Flower Show, and were mentioned in House of Commons by MP Paul Burstow:
That this House congratulates the National Benevolent Fund for the Aged on its 50th anniversary; commends the work it does to help those older people in the UK living on a low income; applauds the hard work and commitment of all the volunteers that enable the life-enriching services it offers; applauds the generosity and hard work of the benefactors and donors of the Trust in providing all the financial support on which it depends; and calls on the Government to do more to support the work of this organisation and others like it in helping the disadvantaged elderly living on low incomes or in poverty.
To keep assisting the elderly we need your help:
One of the current services the NBFA offer are free TENS Pain Relief Machines.
TENS, or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation is the use of electric current to stimulate the nerves for therapeutic and pain relief purposes. TENS machines are used to treat both acute and chronic pain, stimulating the bodies natural defences against pain by delivering small electrical pulses through electrodes attached to the skin. The electrical current acts in a number of ways to relax the person using the machine and reduce their pain.
The NBFA offers TENS machines to elderly people in the UK who are on a low income and might not otherwise be able to afford this product which can greatly improve a person’s quality of life as well as potentially decreasing their reliability on pain killers. In the last year, we’ve donated over two hundred TENS Machines to individuals and physiotherapists across the country and provided an important service to elderly people suffering pain to help them live a more independent and comfortable life.
One beneficiary of the NBFA’s free TENS pain relief machine said “It’s given me my life back” whilst another said “I cannot wait to start. The relief from aches and pains of the last four years will be like Christmas seven days of the week”. At the NBFA, TENS units are just one of several ways we work with the elderly, particularly low income or socially isolated older people, to improve their quality of life.
This is a guest post by Samantha Charman.
My good friend Tim Foster and I read about the work that NBFA are involved in, and are proud to have them as one of two charities we are now raising money for as part of our cycle challenge.
In June we will set off from the iconic Lands End in Cornwall and cycle the entire distance of the UK up to John O’Groats in Scotland, a journey of almost 1,000 miles!
We are funding ourselves for this trip and so all money raised will be going to our two chosen charities: NBFA Assisting the Elderly, and Tearfund. To help raise extra funds we’ve also taken part in a half marathon and hosted a charity salsa party and raffle (pictured above!).
I personally wanted NBFA to be one of our two charities, as having worked with older adults, I have seen first hand the suffering that loneliness and social isolation can cause. My Grandma also lived alone for many years after my Grandad died, and even with family visiting frequently, it can still be a lonely time. My Grandma has always been an inspiration to me and continues to be so.
It is hoped that the money raised from this cycle challenge will go some way in empowering older adults by giving them the respect and dignity they deserve.
It is thoughts of these inspiring individuals, as well as family and friends supporting us, that will help keep our legs peddling on those long days!
The 13th – 17th May this year is mental health awareness week. Each year the Mental Health Foundation sets aside a week in May to campaign around a specific theme related to mental health and to raise awareness of the issue in general. This year’s theme is physical activity and exercise and its effects on mental health.
Studies have show that mental health issues are more common amongst the elderly than other groups and that older people are more vulnerable to the factors that can lead to depression and other psychological conditions.
A study from the Mental Health Foundation showed that around 1 in 5 older people suffer from depression with that figure rising to around 2 in 5 older people in nursing homes. A person’s susceptibility to dementia also increases with their age with around 5% of over 65s and 20% of over 80s living with dementia to some degree.
Mental health problems are more common amongst the aged and often contributing factors can include genetic susceptibility and the neurobiological effects of ageing or the side effects of medication. Studies have also shown that social isolation and loneliness can be a factor that leads to the development of mental health issues, particularly depression. A recent survey for the Daily Mail found one in four over 65s asked felt cut off from family and friends with a similar number going several days at a time without speaking to or seeing anyone.
More work is being done on this issue and only this year a pot of around £60mil was set aside by the Big Lottery Fund to improve the lives of the elderly and reduce loneliness and isolation and to help them live independently. This initiative, Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better has included financial support for organisations that provide support services through to funding initiatives that kit older people out with iPads!
NBFA works with older people on low incomes to help reduce the loneliness and isolation that can contribute to the development of mental health issues amongst the aged. NBFA Breaks-Aways and Day Trips encourage engagement with other older people and allow those attending to have trips they otherwise would have been unable to afford or organise. Our free TENS Pain Relief Machines and free Check and Go Alarms encourage comfortable independent living and allow older people more freedom to get out and do the things they enjoy doing.
Last month NBFA ran a day trip for 40 older people from Bedford to Sulgrave Manor – a Northamptonshire estate that was once home to the ancestors of George Washington. We departed for Sulgrave by coach on a chilly March morning, however spirits weren’t to be dampened by the cold weather and a very interesting and enjoyable day was had by all!
The grounds of Sulgrave Manor were acquired by the first president of the United State’s distant relative, Lawrence Washington, in the 16th century and are the site on which he built Sulgrave House.
We were given a guided tour of the grounds and the impressive old building, hearing about the history of the site and its connections to the Washington’s. It was very interesting to learn about the Washington family tree and how they eventually ended up in the USA.
After the tour of Sulgrave Manor we continued on to the market town of Banbury where everybody had some free time to themselves. Some people visited the Banbury Cross whilst others went to see the museum and few just went for a relaxing stroll round the shops!
Overall it was a cracking day and a great time was had by everybody who attended – another very successful NBFA day trip! Our day trips are aimed at people over the age of 65, and special concessionary / subsidised prices are offered.